The Most Wonderful Time of the Year


Carpets of green grass scattered with sunny dandelions; tender green leaves fluttering on the trees; pink, purple, and white blossoms everywhere; afternoon thunderstorms; long, bright days; walks and birdsong; rushing creeks–is any time of year better than late May and early June?  Then there are the exhilarating, bittersweet graduation ceremonies.  The school year is ending, too, with that pleasant prospect of freedom right around the corner.

The last week of each high school year was always my favorite. They would dismiss us early the last day or two to allow for yearbook signing on the patio. Somehow, pizza was involved. And it being San Diego, the day was always lovely. Summer break was idyllic–cool ocean breezes in our backyard, informal volleyball practices at the school gym, sleeping in, TV with family, and other leisurely activities.

When my high school graduation rolled around, my enjoyment of being part of the Class of ’92 took me by surprise. I hadn’t given the day much thought ahead of time. It just was, and I certainly didn’t have “senioritis.”  It probably helped that I had few classes that year–I was done with math and science requirements, so besides English and Bible, administration filled our schedules with classes like typing and student teaching, where I got to go downstairs and assist with the first graders.

With our Christian school’s small class sizes, the organizers had ways of making graduation ceremonies personal. Our class of sixteen, most of whom had been going to school together for years, wore white and red graduation gowns representing our school colors. We were the “Patriots.” When our names were called to receive our diplomas, our pre-recorded speech would play, and we would each bring a rose to our mom.* We also each received a Bible. At the reception afterward, we took pictures, and I remember feeling elated. We celebrated with some close friends that night, going out to eat in Old Town, waiting in a long line next to a fountain at a popular Mexican restaurant.

There was to be more fun early the next morning–the vans for our senior trip left at 6:00 am. I was at the age where sleep came easily, and I happily slumbered during parts of our journey through the state of California. We went whitewater rafting for two days, visited the redwoods, wandered Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, saw Alcatraz, hung out at a mall, watched movies at the theater, and went out to eat with the little bit of spending money we had brought. Although I wasn’t especially connected with my class, the trip successfully launched our adult lives with a week of meaningful experiences.

My daughters’ graduations, with their huge class sizes, weren’t so personal, but you can always celebrate as a family afterward. And last year, with one daughter earning her masters to become a speech therapist and the other finishing off two degrees in music, there was an air of pleasant finality as my husband and I drove down to their university town to attend the ceremony and help them clean out the 275-square-foot studio they had shared. We went to a party for my older daughter’s major, went out to eat several times, stayed at a basic but nice hotel across town, and made a family project of clearing out the apartment and then cleaning the old place until it virtually sparkled. Then we crossed our fingers as my older daughter and I drove her ’99 green sedan the two and a half hours home. We had loaded it down with their belongings—and that car did not like hills. Happily, we made it.

And another stage of life began.

*At the time I was finishing up my last year of high school in the States while my parents were in Thailand, so my rose went to the lady who had agreed to be my guardian in their absence.

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There are 4 comments.

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  1. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey

    A wonderful story, Sawatdeeka! Thank you for bringing it to us…some days, there’s all too much immediate topical gloom, and a Ricochet post like this restores our perspective. 

    • #1
  2. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter

    You write the most charming stories.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn

    Lovely! It brought back memories of my own high school graduation. Thank you.

    • #3
  4. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator

    sawatdeeka: with one daughter earning her masters to become a speech therapist

    I see we have something in common. 

    • #4
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